Fish and Game accepting comment on sport fish stocking plan

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is accepting public comment on its 2024 Statewide Stocking Plan for Sport Fisheries until the end of the month.

A Wednesday press release from the department says that the Division of Sport Fish will release “approximately seven million fish annually into the waters of Alaska over the next five years to benefit anglers.”

The plan, which is a draft dated for this month, says that “stocking serves to divert angling pressure away from fragile stocks and maintain angling opportunities,” calling stocking “a vital component of the statewide sport fish program.”

Funding for stocking projects comes from the department’s sport fish account, from federal funding services and from some private nonprofit organizations in areas including Cook Inlet, the plan says.

Kenai Peninsula projects described in the plan include salmon enhancements in Crooked Creek, Kachemak Bay, Resurrection Bay and the Ninilchik River, and lake stocking for dozens of Kenai Peninsula lakes.

The hatchery salmon runs in those areas, according to information in the plan, are intended to return hatchery-produced early-run king salmon for sport fishing opportunity while continuing to allow naturally-produced chinook to escape and spawn upstream.

The enhancement project for Kasilof River and Crooked Creek, described in the plan, seeks to accurately census the number of both natural and hatchery salmon that are passing through the area and collect information about those salmon, like age and sex composition. Secondary objectives are the release of smolt and minimizing the number of hatchery produced salmon reaching spawning escapement.

In Kachemak Bay, the objectives are production of adult king salmon for harvest by shore-based anglers at Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and Seldovia Lagoon, as well as the generation of sport fishing opportunity for those stocked salmon. To that end, the plan says around 400,000 king salmon smolt will be stocked between the two fisheries annually.

A similar effort is described for the Ninilchik River, which is set to see 150,000 king salmon smolt stocked annually to maintain fisheries and generate additional opportunity.

Also included in the plan is a hatchery enhancement project for Resurrection Bay. The plan says that the drainages of the bay do not support wild chinook salmon runs, but that hatchery runs have historically been developed in the area.

The plan says around 315,000 hatchery king salmon taken from Crooked Creek and Ship Creek will be stocked in the area between 2023 and 2027. This is intended to produce a return of between 4,000 and 6,000 king salmon to the bay, and generate angler opportunity.

Similar stocking projects for coho salmon are included in the plan targeted for both the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and Resurrection Bay.

On the Kenai Peninsula, around two dozen lakes are included in the plan — a variety of “annual or alternate year stocking of multiple species” described.

The plan says that around 57,000 coho salmon will be stocked annually in four lakes, around 150,000 rainbow trout will be stocked annually in 24 lakes and around 10,000 arctic char will be stocked annually in five lakes.

A full chart of every lake set to be stocked, including with which species and how often, is included in the plan.

Also listed in the plan are a variety of stocking projects for special opportunities, like 4,000 king salmon for “Salmon in the Classroom” with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, 700 rainbow trout for the Kenai Peninsula Sport, Recreation & Trade Show, and around 10,000 rainbow trout for the Salmon in the Classroom Salmon Celebration at Johnson Lake.

“Stocking fish throughout the state provides exceptional sport fishing opportunities in various fresh and saltwater locations,” Statewide Stocking Coordinator Summer Woods-Tunney says in the release. “The comment period on the Statewide Stocking Plan is an opportunity for anglers to share feedback on our fish stocking efforts.”

The full plan can be found at under “Fishing,” then “Sport,” and “Hatcheries and Stocking.” A direct link will be included in the web version of this story at

Comments can be submitted to Woods-Tunney via email at

Reach reporter Jake Dye at